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Welcome! Our blog focuses on environmental conservation, education, green living & wildlife rescue! We have put together links to resources, books and information to help you and your children learn more about these topics. Please feel free to comment on any items posted. Rate or review us on NetworkedBlogs (Facebook app) & Blogged. Tell your friends about us. Follow us on Twitter and other sites listed on this page. There's a banner & widget if you would like to include us on your webpage. All we ask is that you please keep any comments here G-rated for the kids!

NOTE: The birds & squirrel pictured at the top of this page and in the slideshow below are just a few that I have helped rehabilitate.
WARNING: Please do not touch a wild animal, especially the young ones. If you remove a baby from it's home, sometimes the mother is just off getting it's baby food and will be back.

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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Animal advice from an, er, expert

Speaking of Rams!

I always have to laugh a little bit at some of these funny titles these days, many of them not requiring degrees or years of knowledge.  Animal behaviorist, animal psychologist, name it, there is an expert out there for it.  Now, don't get me wrong,  I am by no means dissing them, the title comes from me doubting myself, just a little.

I have been living with and loving animals most of my life.  Although Mom was raised on a farm in Iowa and was not fond of taking care of critters we did always have outdoor cats and dogs as kids.  Then within about a week of Tom and I cohabitating we realized that life with just two people was very boring after living in a house with all of his buddies; so we got our first orange tabby; Razz.  As you know, the story has grown and multiplied over the last twenty years...dramatically.

Even before I met Tom, I was an active volunteer with various rescue groups.  If I remember correctly, the first being the Inter-mountain Humane Society, or was it the Evergreen Animal Protective League?  I don't know which came first and it doesn't really matter, the point is, is that I have been doing this a long time, and I still doubt myself as an expert in the field of animals; crazy!

That is why you always have a good team to back you up.  Mentors are my first line of defense.  And I have different mentors for each group of animal; sometimes it is the person I got the animals from (like the sheep breeder or a llama breeder).  But most of the time, you need to search out your own mentors, maybe this can be your vet, or even someone you meet online; but make sure you have that person to call (or e-mail) for advice at a moments notice.  It goes without saying, that a person with animals needs a good, trustworthy vet.  Not a vet that you are intimidated by, or don't share beliefs with, but one that you know will come out for any reason what-so-ever!

But the most important thing a pet owner can have is common sense, no really.  Common sense enough to trust your own instinct when it comes to your critters.  Watching them and knowing them is the very best preventative medicine you can do for them.  Almost every training method (100% success rate) that I have come up with has come from simply watching the behavior of my animals and adjusting the routine.

Take for instance our dog Rosie.  She was depressed and getting aggressive.  How do you tell a dog is depressed?  Well, she attacked a cat, she was not hanging out with the family, when she did she had her head down, etc, she just seemed depressed.  She was also very aggressively going after Gigi, my little dog that we had recently inherited from my Grandma; so it didn't take a genius to figure out what was causing her depression.  She had been my Baby and now Gigi was going everywhere with me.  So, I started taking Rosie with me everywhere; she no longer had to be in the fence with the rest of the dogs she got treated exactly like I treated Gigi (the only reason Gigi wasn't in the fence was because she could squeeze out of the wire!)

Now, as for the aggressive behavior towards the cat and Gigi, I was not taking any chances there (not with kids and small animals in the house), and I got aggressive myself.  I attacked her back just like another dog would.  It scared the crap out of my kids, I must tell you, but it got the point across to Rosie as well.  I yelled, and growled and rolled her over in a submissive position and held her there until she knew who was boss.  Between doing these two very easy and minor things Rosie is a very happy and normal companion now.

Let's move on to my problematic Rooster while we are talking about dominance here, because this is a new battle for me.  As I mentioned dominance is something that I believe you should always show in your herd, so to speak.  But, this is just a chicken, a bird for goodness sake!  Really, what harm is he going to cause me, and why do I have to win that battle?  It really took some re-thinking on my part.  I realized that every time the roo would see me get worked up, so would he, and if I would just hold still...he would fluff his feathers and move on.

So I tried this new thinking with my teenage son yesterday when I made him go gather eggs for my friend Janet.  I told him exactly what to do, even though he insisted the rooster would not attack him.  Well, he said that bird followed him around trying to get him into battle.  He did exactly what I told him to do.  "No, chicken", and hold still.  The funniest thing was his response.  He said that it went against his grain.  He said "you know Mom, I'm a teenager, and I really wanted to teach that chicken who was boss, it felt like I was letting him win!"  It's very hard to turn the other cheek sometimes.

Speaking of battles you can't win, remember that it is time for the rut, people.  Elk are bugling, the deer have that wild look in their eye, and my ram Paco, well, he looks like he's gonna knock me flat on my ass.. So as soon as I can catch him, he will be locked up with his girlfriend Esther.  And let me tell you, I won't be catching him with my hands, that sheep has one crazed look about him, I will wait until he is in the right pen, and then I will simply close him into it.  Yeah right, and then watch him ram the hell out of the gate, but that is why they call them rams I guess!

While we are talking about advice, I thought I'd mention a trick I have been using lately on the dogs various leg injuries.  It is total and complete immobilization.  Iowa has hurt her leg twice since we have brought her home, and now Gigi has a hurt leg.  When a dog is limping there can be many causes; check the foot first looking for any burs or cuts on the pad.  If there are none, you may need to try this trick, and it has saved me big bucks, because all of the times I thought I was headed to the vet.  Although it seems a bit drastic, put the dog in her crate for a minimum of two days, only walking her on a leash for potty breaks.  The problem is that dogs don't know not to run on an injured leg, and will still run to the front door to bark or whatever.  This really is the only way to completely immobilize an animal, lock them up.  I always feel terrible doing it, but when the leg is better, I know I have done the right thing.

So how about you, do you have any great pet advice to share?  How about pet stories or pics?  I'd love to see them and share them here and on my Facebook page.

Friday, September 24, 2010

They're not Maple leaves, but they'll do

Good morning GSO readers.  Yes, it is the wrong day for me, but I had a few hiccups this week, so I am posting on the wrong day because I wanted to share fall in Colorado with all of you.  I sure would love to see some pictures from the lake states... (hint, hint!)  But anyway here is my post from Wednesday at my daily blog at The Royal Ranch:

Well hello again Rebels!  I heard there was a nasty Twitter Bug, no I didn't say Jitter Bug...a Twitter Bug.  Someone got a hold of Twitter yesterday and made quite a mess of it from what I can gather.  As a matter of fact, when I did my research this morning to make sure it was safe to blog and all, I'm not even comfortable linking to any of the articles that I checked because there were so many pop-ups to, well, pop-up.  And that was the problem I guess; third parties that took you places that had all sorts of pop-ups and malware and nasty stuff.

So here I am being all proud of myself for just having gotten everything all connected.  You know, my new Royal Ranch Facebook page, and my new Twitter account, and of course this blog, and Tuesday is the day that I post for Green Spot-On...Wow, I'm pretty hooked up.  Yeah, hooked up to spread a virus like that like wild fire!  Really I laugh as I write this, you all know that right?

So, to make up for my absence, and god forbid any trouble I may have caused by my huge, massive exposure and connection  I will finally be posting my pics from our overnighter up to one of my favorite areas in the state; Lost Park Wilderness.  You know, they say a picture is worth a thousand words, and I do have quite a few pics here.  Ha!

Lost Park at sunset

Our walk in the "Park"

Dog walk at sunrise, aaahhh!!

You do see the antelope, right?

One of my favorite old barns in South Park

The next day we went to Tarryall Reservoir, what a beautiful dam!  
Pretty cool husband too!

 If you look closely, you can see swallow nests up top, and huge piles of bat guano on the ledges, very intriguing for a manure connoisseur!

There is no rock that they will not climb!

A little grody, but look at the size of this Pike head!

The first picture is from Monday night here at the house, we had a beautiful storm pass through, too bad it didn't bring much rain.  Please excuse the power line, but the view was worth it I figured!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Trying something new while keepin' it real

You know, I was so excited today with the response to my new Facebook page for The Royal Ranch.  It was really quite surprising; not only in the number of people, but who it was.  So since things were already on a little bit of a mixed up trend, and I;m getting ready for my big launch of Royal Rebels on Friday, I decided to do my post a little differently today.  I did part of post via video, so please bear with me and all of my nervous umm's, but I am new to this... so here goes:

And by the way, I was so excited about my idea to record my post I forgot one of the main reasons I was videoing.  That is to ask all of you to do the same.  Get your cameras and video recorders ready to record your goals for the Rebels and send them to me.  You can either send me a link to a YouTube video or e-mail me a picture to judy at royalranch dot net; this way we can all share in one anothers goals and successes.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Tweeting Twoubles

 My new twitter pic.  Actually I also used it on my book, Llucky Llama.

Okay, so I know I am about a decade or so behind a lot of bloggers and other regular folks, but I just don't really understand this whole tweeting thing.  But, I am bound and determined to get it.  I have been doing quite a bit of reading, and feel that it is the next step I should take to help the blog grow and to help spread the word about our Royal Rebels.

I got myself a Twitter account, and from there I was lost.  My e-mail is through my website, not through gmail or Yahoo, so no contacts there.  I followed a couple things, but Jonas Brothers kept showing up...No thanks.  But I did find this cute widget to make it nice and easy for all of you to find me!

So today's post is more of an open ended question to you, my dedicated readers at Royal Ranch, and to my weekly readers at Green Spot-On; how do you use Twitter?  Where do you go, who do you follow?  And most importantly, why?  What makes that person, attractive, so to speak?

Monday, September 6, 2010

Tomatoes? Make soup!

I usually post a recipe every Tuesday on Compost Happens. I'm making this one today. It's a combination of two recipes, made in the slow cooker. Typical of my kitchen, I'll add in a few fresh herbs and vegetables, but if it's not ripe now, I'll leave it out.

Harvest your tomatoes and enjoy!

1 quart fresh tomatoes
1 medium to small onion, chopped
1/2 green pepper, chopped
1/2 red pepper, chopped
1 carrot, grated
1 cup fresh beans
1/2 cup grated zucchini
2-3 oz. fresh spinach
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
4-6 cups chicken broth or chicken stock
2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
(optional): 1 teaspoon lemon pepper, 1 teaspoon dill
salt and pepper to taste

Wash tomatoes. Core them, but you don't have to peel them. Yippee! Place tomatoes in crockpot and tomato guts in the compost. Did you think I'd let that go? Not a chance.
Add onion, peppers, carrot, beans, zucchini, spinach, garlic, basil, and broth to crockpot. Let simmer on low for 8-10 hours or high for 4-6 hours.
Close to serving time, blend with an immersion blender (or remove portions from pot and blend in regular blender, but the other way is easier). Use a slotted spoon to remove any skins that are still solid.
Use your favorite thickener. Add slowly and stir. I like a tablespoon or two of cornstarch mixed with a small amount of water or broth, then turn the pot to high for 30 minutes to an hour.
In the meantime, prepare your sides. Salad, fresh bread, even a PBJ will taste good beside this soup. Oh, yes, don't forget the goldfish crackers!

Adapted by combining Joanne's tomato soup found on Zorba Paster's site and Stephanie's tomato soup recipe on A Year of Crockpotting and adding a few random goodies that were ripe in my garden the day I filled the crockpot. Ah, a vegetable garden is a wonderful thing.